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Review: Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.2


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11 minutes ago, jonoslack said:

Well, I think it might be laughed or sneered at anyway, but isn't it all about the look and feel with a lens like this? I like it! These are both shot at f1.2

Absolutely! I don't care about laboratory test results. What counts for me are the pictures you bring home and the emotions they pull. I most probably will combine it with a late Elmar-M 50 for when a faster focus speed is needed. 

11 minutes ago, jonoslack said:

 

 

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Introduction This is the third lens in Leica's historical lens series where they revisit classics and remake them with modern glass and coatings, but with the original basic design. The two previous lenses are the 28mm Summaron which is a tiny lens, originally released in 1954 with a screw mount. Then came the Leica Thambar M 90mm f2.2, a quirky soft focus portrait lens from the mid 30's.  The Leica Noctilux 50mm f1.2 is rather a different beast. Released in 1966 it was the state of th

Great review Jono I was fortunate to be beta tester and Leica asked me to do the official release photos taken with the lens. Shot on the M10-R   Hello guest! Please register or sign in to view the hidden content. Hallo Gast! Du willst die Bilder sehen? Einfach registrieren oder anmelden!

Probably a bit lighter than the Pounds that will leave your wallet.........

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54 minutes ago, jonoslack said:

Of course - if you want a well designed modern lens at a great price . . . . 

But I really don't think that's why you would be buying the 50 f1.2 -

Fully agree,

I commend Leica for staying true to the original, flaws and all. After all it's a replica, re-issue - whatever you want to call it - of a lens designed over 50 years ago. 

I also commend them for keeping the price somewhat reasonable (in Leica terms, of course), especially given the price that the original has reached in the collectors' market.

There are many sharper, better-corrected fast modern 50mm lenses out there, Leica or not. Most are cheaper.

I don't think anyone would buy this lens on the basis of MTF charts. As for "IQ", it's all in the eye of the beholder...

 

 

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1 hour ago, jonoslack said:

but isn't it all about the look and feel with a lens like this?

Well, yes, I said as much earlier in the thread, Jono.

I'll go out on a limb though and suggest that this is not a lens for colour digital. To play to its strengths, I think you really need to load up with black and white film.

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39 minutes ago, Ecar said:

I don't think anyone would buy this lens on the basis of MTF charts

Geek photographers will compare mtf charts from lenses they like, such as the 35 pre-asph and 50 Summilux ver. 1 and buy the 50/1.2.

  

Edited by darylgo
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8 hours ago, jonoslack said:

Of course - if you want a well designed modern lens at a great price . . . . 

But I really don't think that's why you would be buying the 50 f1.2 -

I agree! In many ways shooting with a Leica M is an antiquated way of taking photographs. To the extent that a 2021 Leica M is very similar to a 1954 Leica M. You can't really say that about anything else in 35 mm or "full frame" SLR/Mirrorless etc. I personally enjoy this experience and I guess many others do too. Although I would love a digital M Camera, I still use my well loved film cameras. To me it makes a lot of sense for Leica to reissue their old lenses from when the system was in it's prime (no pun intended). Many of the reasons I use a Leica today, relate to the fact that I enjoy the pictures that were take on Leica cameras of yesterday. I'd really like see Leica expand the Heritage lens collection. Save the bigger, better corrected lenses for the SL series and give us more small classics for the M - warts and all.

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On 1/29/2021 at 4:09 AM, keithlaban.co.uk said:

I'd love to see a comparison between this lens and the Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton Aspherical.

Easy... the CV is better in every measurable way except for the bragging rights. And $6000 cheaper than the "Leica mortal's version"

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On 2/1/2021 at 11:22 PM, adan said:

Jono, Jono, Jono! You know better than that!

A floating element is for correcting close-up performance (at any aperture) - it compensates for the differing mathematics of parallel (near effective infinity) and diverging (close-up) light rays. It has nothing to do with correcting focus shift.

Focus shift is caused by different bundles of light rays predominating as one stops down to different apertures and eliminates the outer ones. Has nothing to do with a floating element.

Although a myth to that effect has grown up around the 35 Summilux FLE - but it is just a fan-boy myth. What Leica actually says is:

Page one, paragraph one: http://www.summilux.net/m_system/images/Summilux35Asph-2010.pdf

No mention of focus shift whatsoever.

What fixes focus shift is taming spherical aberration by way of different glass or different curvatures (see: C/V Nokton 35mm f/1.4 version II. A new non-floating glass element, but not a floating element in sight ;) ).

I made this definition of FLE that might explain it. Feel free to comment on it as there may be details I didn't get right. (Also @01af if you want to join in here)

Floating Elements (FLE) = Near focus correction in a lens by having a single lens or a group of lenses floating independently of the other lenses. Most lenses are born with poor performance at their closest focusing distance. Center sharpness may be good, but aberrations and corner softness increase when you’re shooting closeups. Floating elements are lens elements outside of the primary focus group that change position when the lens is focused on a close object, correcting aberrations and improving close up performance. 
Floating Elements originally was coined by Canon in the 1960's and quickly became the general term for this feature. Other brands came up with new names for the same thing, Minolta called it Floating Focusing, Nikon used the term Close-Range Correction (CRC), Leica call it FLE/Floating Elements.

Floating elements are for close-focus improvement of image quality and not for reducing "focus shift". Floating elements by themselves cannot reduce focus shift, but by reducing the impact of focus distance on performance, they give the designers more freedom in other areas - which could include minimizing focus shift.

(As a side-note, when a lens "rattle" when moved, it is not the floating elements "floating around" but can be the IS (Image Stabilization) elements for elense that has that, AF elements for auto focus lenses, or the aperture cage that rattles (as in the case of the Leica 35mm Summilux-M f/1.4 FLE - if you stop down the Summilux to f/16, the sound is usually not there).

Edited by Overgaard
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I suspect UK buyers will be waiting rather longer. My 48 hour express shipment from Switzerland has been two and half weeks to date with no signs of delivery to the UK agent. The Agent have also received nothing in the way of customs paperwork from HMRC to clear the shipment. This is of course an added benefit of Boris' "seamless" border. 

Wilson

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On 2/1/2021 at 3:02 AM, mdg1371 said:

How did you try an original Noctilux f1.2 ( M mount) on a Canon VI-T ( LTM mount)?

 

You are quite correct - my mistake.  At the time I'm refereeing to I still had my Canon VI-T but I also had a Leica M5.  I must have used it on the M5.

I made reference to the lens / film register because whenever I became involved in discussions about the Canon I frequently got told that the Japanese register was different and could not be used with Leica lenses also that Japanese engineering was simply inferior.  This reached such a point, remember this is 50+ years ago, that I took the VI-T to Wallace Heaton in Bond Street who were then the preeminent Leica dealer in London to be checked.  They had a Leica approved workshop with the finest measuring equipment and it is no exaggeration to say that they were astonished by the Canon's quality.  It transpired that they had never seen one in the workshop before.

How things change!    

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.. every year the myth of the genius of the first Noctilux appears.
But it wasn't a good lens.

At this point the first Noctilux was still being sold, the 1971 Canon was in ALL respects much better.
Canon was also more expensive than Leica's lens at the time.

While the prices for the Leica lens are skyrocketing,
you can get a much better lens for relatively little money and more fun.

 

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15 hours ago, lookbook said:

.. every year the myth of the genius of the first Noctilux appears.
But it wasn't a good lens.

At this point the first Noctilux was still being sold, the 1971 Canon was in ALL respects much better.
Canon was also more expensive than Leica's lens at the time.

While the prices for the Leica lens are skyrocketing,
you can get a much better lens for relatively little money and more fun.

 

If that’s an attempt at trying to put anyone off buying either the old or new Noctilux f1.2, I have news for you:

Pee-ing into the wind is never a good idea....

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vor 5 Minuten schrieb Ouroboros:

If that’s an attempt at trying to put anyone off buying either the old or new Noctilux f1.2, I have news for you:

Pee-ing into the wind is never a good idea....

... of course you are absolutely right!
Peeing against the wind is not a good idea.

But to put one or the other straight is sometimes appropriate!
Or are we here on a religious event and it's about the right belief?
: )

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On 2/2/2021 at 1:24 AM, farnz said:

Judging by the price of S$118,888 (£64,000) asked for the new 1.2 Noctilux on this site, the original 1.2 Noctilux market might become the bargain market. ^_^

Pete.

Frankly I'm not surprised to see such an attempt to flip the lens.   I was offered the new Silver Noc 50/1.2 by Leica Singapore (not a Leica dealer) but only in a "bundle" with the ASC Leica M10P set (which I presume is not selling well).  I find it tragic that Leica is resorting to such sales strategy and do not place any weightage on the loyalty of genuine Leica users/supporters.   It's like buying a Rolex sports watch from a watch dealer (not Rolex itself) who would only sell you the watch if you bough another not sought after watch.... the distinction here is that Leica Singapore itself is doing this rather than a Leica dealer.... I don't think Rolex would allow that.  

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1 hour ago, lookbook said:

... of course you are absolutely right!
Peeing against the wind is not a good idea.

But to put one or the other straight is sometimes appropriate!
Or are we here on a religious event and it's about the right belief?
: )

I tried the canon, it’s not great and I sold it after a few months; each person gets to pick / shoot with whatever they like. The canon was not great for me, but maybe it’s for others. Same with the Nocti. And yes, I’ll def. be getting the Noctilux, which to me is an awesome remake :D

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1 hour ago, monte said:

Frankly I'm not surprised to see such an attempt to flip the lens.   I was offered the new Silver Noc 50/1.2 by Leica Singapore (not a Leica dealer) but only in a "bundle" with the ASC Leica M10P set (which I presume is not selling well).  I find it tragic that Leica is resorting to such sales strategy and do not place any weightage on the loyalty of genuine Leica users/supporters.   It's like buying a Rolex sports watch from a watch dealer (not Rolex itself) who would only sell you the watch if you bough another not sought after watch.... the distinction here is that Leica Singapore itself is doing this rather than a Leica dealer.... I don't think Rolex would allow that.  

From my very modest knowledge of how Leica controls its outlets, both in-house and dealerships, I doubt that the Leica 'mothership' would endorse that - if they knew about it.

Pete.

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1 hour ago, monte said:

I was offered the new Silver Noc 50/1.2 by Leica Singapore (not a Leica dealer) but only in a "bundle" with the ASC Leica M10P set 

That would have been a pretty expensive bundle, although a Silver Noctilux would look much better than that horrible Gold ASC lens!

The practice of "flipping" happens all the time - Rolex and Porsche are two examples - but Rolex will not allow one of their official dealers to sell a flipped watch at an inflated price.  The watches you see on websites like Chrono24 will have been bought from an official dealer then put up for sale through a non-official dealer.  A new unworn Rolex GMT Pepsi will immediately sell for double its list price, but you won't find any official Rolex dealers selling this item through Chrono24 or similar websites.

Rolex official dealers are careful to whom they sell, the main reason being to stop flipping.  If you establish a good relationship with the official dealer, you will eventually move up the waiting list, but if you flip the watch, they will never sell you another.

I suppose it is slightly different with Rolex because manufacture is continuous, albeit in very small numbers.  If Leica make just 100 pieces, when they're gone, they're gone, and that creates a totally different market.

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57 minutes ago, farnz said:

From my very modest knowledge of how Leica controls its outlets, both in-house and dealerships, I doubt that the Leica 'mothership' would endorse that - if they knew about it.

Pete.

Well, i do hope that Mothership will look into it.   I've been a long time user and supporter of Leica, since the analogue days and was quite disgusted when i was asked to purchase a "bundle" in order to own the lens... Tbh, if i was just in it to flip the lens, i would probably still purchase the bundle and sell both the lens and camera body.  As a matter of principle i declined their offer.   btw, the bundle for the Black lens is the White Edition M10P which costs less than the ASC....

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